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Smart Meters

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Smart meters.png

Status: Completed


The Internet of Things (IoT) era is characterized by billions of devices gathering data and sending them to servers, where they can be analyzed and processed. A pre-processing step can also be implemented directly on the IoT device to save energy and bandwidth. Extracting information on the edge allows sending a lighter payload to the server, thus reducing the time spent in transmission.

The goal of this project is to implement a low-cost solution to make mechanical meters smart, instead of replacing them with costly devices. The students will work on a Smart Meter, an IoT system based on:

  • GAPuino, a development board based on PULP (Parallel Ultra-Low-Power Processing Platform), developed here at IIS. PULP is an open-source multi-core platform achieving leading-edge energy efficiency and featuring widely-tunable performance
  • a modem for wireless connectivity
  • an ultra-low-power camera

The system will periodically wake up, take a picture, process the image extracting the number displayed on the meters and transmit the value wirelessly. A wide range of different meters exists and many of them are located in environments with difficult lighting conditions. Therefore, analyzing the image on the edge will require robust pattern recognition algorithms.

A prototype connecting GAPuino with the modem and able to send messages to a server has already been implemented. During this project, you will optimize the pipeline for energy efficiency, interface GAPuino with the ultra-low-power camera and build the pattern recognition application.

Application Scenario

The smart meter will be employed in an IoT scenario. The automatic recognition of the number displayed on the meter and its wireless transmission will replace the need for a person to read the meter and annotate the measurement.

  • Familiarity with C programming
  • Basic knowledge of communication protocols
Task Description
  • Interfacing PULP with the ultra-low-power camera
  • Implementation of a pattern recognition algorithm on a microcontroller
  • Testing the system and evaluate the power consumption
  • Optimization for energy efficiency
Project Supervisor